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Basile v. Levittown United Teachers

United States District Court, E.D. New York

May 6, 2014

MARY BASILE, Plaintiff,

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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For the Plaintiff: Jeltje DeJong, Esq., Joshua S. Shteierman, Esq., DEVITT SPELLMAN BARRETT, LLP, Smithtown, NY.

For the Defendants: Steven A. Friedman, Esq., NEW YORK STATE UNITED TEACHERS, New York, NY.


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Denis R. Hurley, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff commenced this action against the Levittown United Teachers (the " LUT" ), the Levittown United Teachers Supplemental Benefit Fund (the " Fund" ), the Board of Trustees for the Levittown United Teachers Supplemental Benefit Fund (the " Board" ), Therese Rogers (" Rogers" ) in her individual and official capacities, and Debra Ruocco (" Ruocco" ) in her individual and official capacities, asserting claims of discrimination and retaliation under 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq., the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (" ADEA" ), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., (" Title VII" ), 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and the New York State Human Rights Law (" NYSHRL" ), N.Y. Exec. Law § 296. Before this Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's ADEA claims pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) and her § 1983 claims pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6).[1] For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.


The following factual allegations are presumed true for the purposes of this motion.

Plaintiff worked for the LUT and the Fund from 1989 until she was fired on September 7, 2011. (Compl. ¶ ¶ 16, 44.) Plaintiff began her employment with the LUT and the Fund as a part-time administrative assistant. ( Id. ¶ 16.) Plaintiff began working in that position on a full-time basis in 1994. ( Id. ¶ 17.) " Specifically,

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70% of [Plaintiff's] job responsibilities came from the [] Fund and 30% from the [LUT]; accordingly 70% of her salary was paid by the Fund and 30% by the LUT." ( Id. ¶ 18) In 2004, Plaintiff was promoted to Office Manager of the Fund and the LUT. ( Id. ¶ 19.) As Office Manager, Plaintiff was " responsible for inputting and updating enrollment cards of members, managing members' medical and dental claims, organizing [LUT] and Fund files, editing board minutes, fielding phone calls and working with the Treasurer of the [LUT] to manage [LUT] funds and accounts." ( Id. ¶ 20.) The Plaintiff did the majority of this work on a computer and she was proficient in the computer programs Quicken 2004 and Quicken 2007. ( Id. ¶ 21.) When Plaintiff was promoted in 2004, the Fund gave her a ten thousand dollar raise and began to contribute two thousand dollars annually to an IRA for her retirement. ( Id. ¶ 23.) Plaintiff also received annual raises while she held this position. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 22, 24.) In addition, ninety percent of her health care costs were covered and she received dental and vision insurance. ( Id. ¶ 26). Plaintiff signed employment contracts approximately every five years, the last of which was dated June 9, 2005 and expired June 9, 2010. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 27-28.) Plaintiff did not sign another employment contract after that one expired, but she continued fulfilling her duties as Office Manager and was compensated accordingly. ( Id. ¶ 28.)

In late October of 2010, the Fund instituted a new computer program intended to modernize its recordkeeping system. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 29-30.) On Thursday, December 2, 2010, " without any warning or prior incidents, plaintiff was ushered into a meeting with [LUT President, Defendant] Rogers and [Fund Director, Defendant] Ruocco where Plaintiff was informed that she was being demoted to part time." ( Id. ¶ ¶ 14, 15, 32.) Plaintiff would be paid thirty-five dollars an hour, but was limited to working four hours a day, five days a week, and would not work the summer months of July and August. ( Id. ¶ 33.) In addition, Plaintiff's health insurance premiums were increased, her IRA contributions were decreased to one thousand dollars, she would no longer receive paid vacation, sick, or personal days, and would not be reimbursed for her accrued sick days. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 33-34.) The only explanation Defendant Rogers offered for the demotion was that " the LUT was making changes and [it] needed someone who was proficient [with] computers." ( Id. ¶ 35.) When Plaintiff told Defendants Rogers and Ruocco that her family could not afford this demotion, Defendant Ruocco told Plaintiff, " you're 61 or 62 right, you should look into retiring." ( Id. ¶ 36.) On Monday, December 6, 2010, Plaintiff retained a law firm and that firm sent a letter to the Defendants advising them to " cease and desist" of their discriminatory conduct. ( Id. ¶ 37.)

When Plaintiff arrived to work on Monday, December 6, 2010, her key to the office no longer worked because the locks had been changed. ( Id. ¶ 38.) Plaintiff was let into the office by thirty-eight year old Gina Murphy (" Murphy" ), whom Plaintiff claims was her replacement. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 38-39.) Plaintiff then discovered that her desk had been searched and important LUT and Fund files had been removed. ( Id. ¶ 40.) Defendant Rogers informed Plaintiff that she was no longer allowed in the office by herself and that she could no longer use the parking lot, which she had used for over twenty years. ( Id. ¶ 41.) " [P]laintiff was relegated to spending the entire workday shredding paper or training her replacement, Murphy, how to use the appropriate computer program to process claims, as Murphy was less computer proficient than Plaintiff." ( Id. ¶ 42.) Defendant Rogers accused Plaintiff of insubordination

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in front of Murphy when Plaintiff refused to vacuum the office, a job which the Fund paid a cleaning service to do on the weekends. ( Id. ¶ 43.) On September 7, 2011, Plaintiff received a letter notifying her that she was being terminated. ( Id. ¶ 44.)



a. Motion To Dismiss Pursuant To 12(b)(6)

Rule 8(a) provides that a pleading shall contain " a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). In recent years, the Supreme Court has clarified the pleading standard applicable ...

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